Monday, June 30, 2008

Darkroom Desires

Oh, that title sounds as though I am going to delve into taboo topics. I am not. The other night my brother was showing me his Photography Class Portfolio from high school and it was making me think about my own days in Photography 101 at that very high school some ten years ago with the very same teacher when the class was new, my sister and I took it at the same time. Very interesting that we all took the same class in high school. Other than Freshman English it may be the only class all three of us took.

Anyways, his shots were very good and though it may be boring for many I rather enjoyed the test strips and the stacks of the same shot at different stages of development. There was even a shot of me, four days before I was induced (which I will certainly post later). Looking through the portfolio re-sparked an old desire of mine.

A darkroom.

When I was seven or eight my parents bought me and my sister Kodak cameras (I know, I already told this story) and ever since I have really enjoyed photography. When I was twelve I read a quote in Time Magazine beside a picture of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie on their yacht, it read 'Pictures help us hold onto what we know will disappear.' Though a rather sad quote I have never forgotten it and it makes me treasure my photos and albums even more.

Since March I have taken over 2200 photos with a camera that was so worth the moratorium on spending you cannot even comprehend. Sunday I bought a 500G External Hard drive to back up my family's treasure. But since viewing my brother's portfolio I have been thinking about that darkroom. I remember how much I enjoyed seeing my prints develop in the developer. The smell of the fixer. The light from the enlarger.

OK, it really wasn't that romantic, but I really enjoyed it. I was going to take more shots in college but I never got around to it.

I am not a photographer, I do not take awesome snapshots, I do not capture moments in all of their brilliance, no I save that for the real photographers but that isn't going to stop me from loving photographs and all the honesty of the past they hold.

And someday, maybe I can use my brother's darkroom.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Playground Update


After months spent wading through bureaucratic red-tape, we were finally able to break ground this week.

This is TOWER A, and acts as the central hub for the playground.

That leaning heap to the side of Tower A belongs to our neighbors, and is now scheduled for demolition. They couldn't stand to live in our shadow any longer.

Those two tunnels will connect Tower A to Tower B. Tower B will be located where the woodpile currently sits.

A side view of the tower shows you the custom diamond shaped windows typical of this style of architecture.

Another amenity, sought after in all forts and playhouses of this caliber, the Smuggler's Compartment. Specially designed for hiding all of those secret items you've been needing to hide.

A view from inside.

More pictures will be coming soon.


Friday, June 27, 2008

If We're Lucky

I am reading Anthony Swofford's memoir Jarhead. It is OK, but I like to look at Jake Gyllenhaal so I think I prefer the movie, but the other night when I was reading I came across this paragraph and it really struck home with me:

"While me mother worked on my iron-on, my father paid bills or wasted time inside his study, either unwilling to take part in the historic moment occurring in the kitchen or simply disinterested in the elite future his son might frasp, the USMC iron-on considered with the same paternal irony as Boy Scout camp and trumpet lessons and Little League, money gone and time possibly wasted but what the hurt, this is life, and life goes on and children live happily if we're lucky and raise them well."

So I really enjoy where Swofford is going at the end there, "children live happily if we're lucky and raise them well."

I think of all the things we want to do for our children, and with our children and even those silly romp and roll classes and I wonder if we should even be doing them, but here I find some solace that what's the harm? That maybe it;s time wasted but only if you look at it that way. I think I would rather think of it as cherished time, all of it, even the bad.

Coop is sitting up. All the time, for 45 minutes at a time. He won't fall over, instead he cries if he wants to lay down or change positions. And I am so proud and happy of this inevitable feat. I feel like my child is special and of course he is to me and all the people who love him, but really what is he doing that most other humans aren't capable of? In a few weeks he will be sitting up and it won't surpsise me and I will think nothing of it, but for now I think it is incredible. Reminiscent of all the smaller milestones prior and all the larger ones to come. In five more months he will be crawling and eating more foods and perhaps speaking words or even walking and sitting up will be rather small potatoes. Bailey is right behind him, just grasping the sitting up technique. And I think they are miraculous, and really they are.

And I don't want them to change and yet I want to see them conquer every obstacle before them and the two sides of me are at odds. But I know they most grow up and so I want them to succeed everywhere they turn and I want to be there behind them pushing and encouraging them. And of course I want them to be happy.

And maybe, if I am lucky...

They will be.


People still Hoola Hoop?

It's been a long time since a music post and this one might surprise you.

I have liked this guy for a long time. Well, at least their was another song of his along time ago that I was really into. I am going ahead and putting it out their. Then we can talk.

And of course I liked this song,

I am not usually into Hip Hop but Ward tells me that Wycelf is different and hey anybody Paul Simon collaborates with is probably pretty cool. Right?


Thursday, June 26, 2008

If We Ever Go Out Alone Again...

I want to see this movie.

I really like Rachel McAdams and this story. My sister in law recommended the book last summer and it has become one of my favorites.

But we aren't really hip on getting babysitters or going out alone.

So I'll probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD.

But I like shopping at Target almost as much as I like watching movies, so all will be alright in the world.

And I don't think I am one of those people who can take my infants to the movie theatre. I feel bad when my children start screaming and I would hate to have to leave because of an unhappy child after paying $42 to get into the movie.

In fact, it's getting much cheaper to buy a movie than to go and see one out.

Even if the movie is terrible.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Well This Sucks

We have lost power three times in the past ten days and twice thus far tonight.

I enjoy lights. I do not enjoy losing electricity.


I Just Wanna Hear Some Rhythm

Is is weird that I dance like Kevin Bacon in Footloose to Bruce Springsteen's Radio Nowhere?

Should I close my blinds so the neighbors can't see me?

Do you think I am embarrassing the youngins?


And you call that VACATION?

What do you get when you take one game loving husband, three children under 14 months, a woman who loves her clothes, a grandmother who is a pack rat, a Guitar hero fan, trophies for the competitive grandfather, and a family who loves to eat to the beach?

One of these.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Love To Play Games

Ward and I love to play games. No. not mind games. Board Games. We own somewhere around 70 or so and built cabinets into our Living Room when we were building our home to store them, unfortunately they never all fit there because by the time we moved in our collection had outgrown the cabinets. In our next home we plan on having a game closet (I picture the one like in the Royal Tenenbaums).

Anyways we are planning on taking a bunch of games to the beach with us in a few weeks so we made a long list and decided that it may be too long. So the other night we started playing a few games a night to see which ones we should bring along that made the list.

Here are a few quick reviews of those games.

Lord Of The Rings. I watched all the films a few times and love them. I tried to read the books but only made it through Book 1 of The Two Towers. So how does this game rate, not bad at all for those who have seen the movie a few dozen times. I think Ward had a little harder time because he read all of the books and got some things confused from the movie. I recommend it to those who have seen the movies and love trivia games (I Love Trivia Games even though I suck at them.)

The worse thing about this game is the silly name. It too is a Trivia Game with a twist. Think Outburst meets Trivial Pursuit with more clues, if that even makes sense. This game should be played with at least five players and goes really fast.

Another Trivia game, I told you I am really into these and I can't quite find one that I am really good at. Ward is definitely the Star Wars expert in this house but I somehow managed to win (could it have been Ward's hand picking of cards to read to me knowing I would guess them right and want to bring this game to the beach, probably not). Again this game isn't too bad. There is a mix of hard and easy questions but you never know which one you will get asked. I am waiting on the Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, now that is a game I could win. Or lose.

This game has been recommended to us by several family members so we drove to Roanoke this weekend to get it so that we could bring it to the beach. We have only played two player games so far but we have not been disappointed. It is in the same vain I suppose as another family favorite, Settlers of Catan, but easier to catch on and explain to newcomers. I look forward to a four or five player game (five is the max limit on this game).

Ah, my new favorite game. I won three times in a row last night and Ward wanted to play over and over again until he beat me so finally I let him win, twice. Just to be nice.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Our Marriage is Now Pointless!

If the Gays can do it...

So I'm sure that most of you have heard that the great state of California has refused to be as backwards and asinine as the rest of this great country. I mean they've decided to allow gay couples to marry (gasp!) legally.

Today I heard some Conservative Radio Airbag complaining about this, and all of his intellectual listeners were calling to complain about what this does to the institution of marriage. Evidently my marriage isn't worth the paper our license is printed on anymore.

I listened to this ranting and raving for nearly twenty-five minutes while I drove across town today. Why? I wanted to hear a good reason for this insanity. I didn't. Apparently you have to be born with a certain gene that enables that sort of senseless bigotry.

O.K., why does the fact that these gay couples are allowed to wed, who obviously love each other enough to commit to a long-term monogamous relationship, erode the sanctity of your heterosexual relationship.

Up until a few days ago gay weddings were illegal, and yet 50% of all marriages in this country end in divorce.

So how sacred is your marriage? Doesn't that really depend on the two people involved? The way I see it my marriage is between my wife and me. Some of you may include god, which is fine. But other than those two (or three) people, the rest of the world shouldn't really matter.

Why does it bother people that gays want to be more like them? Maybe they secretly want to be more like the gays? That's sounds like something Freud would say, and I personally think he was a nut-job, but that's another story all together.

So, I would just like to say:

Why can't we all just get along.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Backgammon VS Checkers

Tonight we were waiting for Ricky and Lucy to show up so Ward started playing internet Backgammon. I told him I had only played once when I was babysitting a four year old boy named Avery. He tried to teach me but I never got the hang of it. So Ward learned how to play in about fifteen minutes and decided to show me. We played 2 games and I won them both. Then he decided we should play checkers.

We love board games. We love Quelf, Balderdash, Settlers of Catan, Cranium, Catchphrase, and Risk just to name half a dozen. We usually like to play in larger groups but tonight it was just the two of us so we settled on two player games. So we played Checkers. The first game had to be thrown out because neither of us could move a piece. Then we played four games, I lost every one of them.

I don’t think I like Checkers very much.

So we went back to Backgammon and Ward won the next two games because I was still so flustered about Checkers. Finally, I regained my composure and won the fifth and final game.

I am now the Backgammon champ in our household (at least until tomorrow when Ward reads this post and demands a rematch).

The funny thing is that in the 1970’s a friend of my parents made a Backgammon/coffee table for them. When I was growing up it was always in our TV room or their bedroom. When my mom left and we sold my childhood home my dad was going to throw out the old Backgammon table but I asked if I could have it. He said he didn’t care.

Flash forward a few years. Ward and I are going to get married. He decided to take that table and refinish the entire thing and make me new Backgammon pieces. He also made me a homemade Mancala board for our Wedding gift. At the time I was the Mancala champ in our house and it was a very sweet gift complete with my future name engraved on the back. Anyways he refinished the backgammon table and we put a piece of glass on it. We continued to use it as our coffee table (despite the table looking like a piece of 1972 furniture).

Then in our last house I broke the glass top. So I put the pieces away (which means I lost them). When we moved here we kept the table and it is in our bedroom. But we have NEVER used it to play Backgammon because we had NEVER taken the fifteen minutes to learn how to play.

Now that I am the new Backgammon champ of our household I am going to refresh my search for those missing pieces and maybe start up some Backgammon championships complete with registration forms and application fees.

Oh, and I am NEVER playing Checkers again.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Shiner

Introducing the Champ!

"You want a piece of me?"

"You should see the other guy."

Now keep in mind that these pictures were taken 36 hours after the incident. It looked a little worse when it happened.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th Nightmare

You don't realize how many hours the doctor's office is closed until you are less than six weeks pregnant with twins and you start bleeding the Sunday before Memorial Day and you know the office is closed and you can't talk with anyone until Tuesday or you are 38 weeks pregnant with twins and you start bleeding on New Year's Eve and you know it will be a day before you can see anyone or you fall on the stairs with one of your five month old twins and they start bleeding and it is Friday the 13th at 7 p.m.

Then you realize that M-F 9-5, isn't really all that wide a time frame. Though it may appear so when you are working those hours.

Today the unthinkable happened.

Our child got hurt, and it was all my fault.

I don't know why I ever use stairs, I am the most clumsy person I know. Since we have lived here I have fallen on the stairs at least three times. Maybe it's the high gloss on the wood, I don't know. I just know that I was very careful the whole time I was pregnant even though I still managed to fall once then too. And I always cry when it happens, because I hurt myself and it it scary.

So you can imagine the scene when I fall on the stairs holding my five month old son.

I don't know who it was more traumatic for, him or me. I do know however who will remember it until their old, cussing themselves each and every time the memory is refreshed. If you have ever fallen down, or up, stairs you will know the feeling of utter helplessness as you crash down, that experience with a child is awful.

I immediately scooped him up and started telling him how sorry I was and the lack of immediate bloodshed was only slightly comforting. Ward was by my side almost instantly taking the red-faced screaming child from my hands and asking if I was OK. Emotionally, not at all. Physically, only a few scratches on me. Within a few seconds the blood started to appear and it was on and around his eye. I was frantic. Ward was the only calm one.

The decision to take him somewhere was made immediately. I was a nervous wreck and we are first time parents. We loaded the twins into the car and headed into the city. I called my sister for our pediatricians phone number and left a message with the answering service. They didn't call until we were in the Emergency Room at Virginia Baptist. That doesn't make me very happy but that's doctor's offices for you I suppose.

The Emergency Room was like a dysfunctional social gathering. I won't even begin to comment on the freak show that is the waiting room of the emergency room as some of you may have more experience in these places than myself so what is the point. They took our information and left us in the lobby for an hour. At this point Coop had forgiven me and was laughing and talking and other than some unsightly scratches and a gash on his eyelid, he didn't look that damaged (thank goodness for eyelids, turns out they aren't just for sleeping).

At 9 pm we were taken back to answer financial questions (they want to know how you will be paying before they put you in a room) and then shown a room. No curtains, we got an actual room.

And then we were left alone. For hours.

Finally, it became apparent that Coop's eye wasn't the emergency we thought it was. He fell asleep, then Bailey, then Ward. We asked about leaving. Ward hunted down some nurses who told us there had beem a level one Trauma brought in and we were now third on the list to be seen but we could leave, they said it was up to us. I decided we had invested quite some time into the visit already, we would hold out a little longer.

As I sat in the emergency room with my whole family wiped out from this near catastrophe where three hours earlier I was wondering if I had blinded my son for life, I remembered my last emergency room visit.

My father had gone into this same hospital at 3 pm complaining of stomach pains. They put him in one of those curtained off rooms and left him. I got a call from the hospital at 5 pm, I was 16 and the only one still living with my dad. The nurse told me he was fine but that he wanted her to call and inform me of his whereabouts (we had made plans for dinner at La Carreta). This was before everyone had cell phones. I called my sister and we decided to head to the hospital. He seemed pretty bad off to us when we arrived but they still hadn't sent a doctor to see him. At 3 am a doctor came in and they finally ran some tests which led to more waiting. At 5 am my sister and I went to stay the night (what was left of it anyways) at my mother's. At 7 am they discovered he had Diverticulitis and operated almost immediately. At 11pm tonight as I was sitting in the emergency room this memory came back to me. That was a real emergency and they didn't get to him until 7 am the next day. I woke Ward up and told him I wanted to leave.

He got a nurse and told her we were leaving, she said Coop didn't need stitches, just Neosporin.

All that waiting for a regimen of Neosporin? Oh well, I think it is better we played it safe and I hate that he is going to have the nastiest shiner for Ricky and Lucy's graduation party tomorrow (oh, the things the Grandmother's will say) but I think he will make it through this first emergency better off than I.

I am sure this is the first in a long stream of accidents over the course of their lives, but it was really scary. I was sitting there thinking he is going to have to get stitches at 5 months old, I never even got stitches until 5 months ago. But we escaped without stitches and hopefully no scars but I am rather worried the cut on his eyelid will remain in the form of a scar.

Ward says if it does we tell him Bailey ninja kicked him. I feel bad blaming it on her, but then again telling him I tripped and he cut his eyelid on baseboard is just so....sad.

I am feeling like the worse mother EVER.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We Miss You, Haley and Jaidyn, Brandon and Ella-Bo-Bella!

For over a week we had family with us. On Thursday before last my Dad and Grandmother came in for my younger brother's graduation from high school. My Grandmother, at 90 years old, was a huge help with the babies. Wanting to hold them and feed them as often as we would let her. My Dad didn't do much holding but is almost at the point of being able to tell them apart.

On Saturday before last we left at 5:13 am (only 13 minutes behind schedule) to embark on a 5-day adventure through Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia with my brother-in-law and his family. We met them around noon in Philadelphia and immediately Jon's girls wanted to hold the twins, and they did, until they left this Sunday to go home.

The older girls were great with the babies. Taking it upon themselves to change them and feed them and they wanted to hold them ALL the time. In fact, by the time they left I was looking forward to seeing my children again. The younger children were as sweet as they could be. At Union Station in DC I found my 5 year old niece Ella and her 7 year old brother Brandon singing lullabies to Bailey to lull her asleep in her stroller. It was the sweetest thing. Brandon and Ella also wanted to hold the babies. It was a sight to see Ella holding Cooper.

On Sunday, Ward and I were both home and we spent a good part of the day hanging with the babies and taking them to the pool for the first time with Lucy and Ricky.

On Monday, everyone went back to work. And Coop and Bailey have not been very happy about being left alone here with their mom who has only two arms. Not very happy at all! I have resorted to just giving in. Spending the day with them, holding them both as long as I can. I know this won't always be the case, that my children will far too quickly grow and sooner rather than later want to get down on the floor and crawl away from me and that trend will continue for the next 18 years when the week after graduating from high school they will leave the nest forever (yeah right, I know).

Last night Ward told me that I had some splaining to do about why the house was in shambles. And this morning he told me that adults our age only need 6.5 hours of sleep a night or we get lazy. I think a day home alone with the twins after twelve days of help might serve him well.

I wish we had our nieces and nephews closer. Nearing the end of this trip we started planning our next visit. This time on the coast closest to them. Five to seven days (give or take a few days) in Disneyland. I am thinking of making some bright ridiculous shirts with everyone's names on them and the dates of our trip. Yes, I really am!

I already miss our extended family. They were a lot of help and they spoiled us. At the same time having them here solidified a growing urge in my mind.

I want those eleven children.


Why Sharing is Bad

Several years ago for Christmas we received a Whirley Pop popcorn popper. At first I thought it was a little oddball gift that would never get used, but we purchased several yummy glazes that made the popcorn rather scrumptous. Whenever we have people over for games or brothers in from Arizona, we make the yummy popcorn, the Strawberry being a big hit with my sister-in-law as well as myself. This past week we used the last of the Strawberry (which supposedly made 48 quarts of popcorn before it was empty {if used accordingly}) while our family was in town thinking I could just replace the Strawberry glaze at Target at my earliest convenience, or my brother or sisters earliest convenience. After three trips to Target made by each of my parents children (thank you Erin and Ricky), one trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond and a lengthy search on the ole internet I am faced with these realities:

Back to Basics no longer makes Strawberry Glaze for popcorn, only Caramel (OK) and Kettle Corn (YUCK!!).

I shouldn't have made this scrumptous popcorn again for my family, even though they enjoyed it last time they were here.

I emailed the company telling them how bad a mistake they have made as I won't be buying popcorn glaze from them once every millenium (Of this I know WILL be their economic downfall I am sure) and gave them my email address in case they come across any cartons in their warehouse.

I LOVED this popcorn. I wonder if I can make my own strawberry glaze or if I can locate any on the ole e-Bay (who I despise thanks to PayPal).



I got a not so friendly email from Back To Basics that said rather shortly that they have discontinued the Strawberry Glaze. Perhaps they read my blog and were offended?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Do I Feel So Old?

Went running again today. Feel so old and out of shape and am only a little over a quarter of a century old. Ten years ago I was in pretty decent shape.

Ten years ago is a long time.

Poor Lucy, she is being a good sport running with this old gal. It was hot today too and that doesn't seem to help and Coop doesn't think much of the double jogger. Bailey slept well in it.

I am hoping to run the Academy of Fine Arts 1 Miler on July 4th. It is less than a month away but a mile seems pretty fast and easy.

Or so I hope.

At least I have begun. That's what I keep telling myself.

I was watching other people at the track this morning and thinking about how after we got married we went to the track quite frequently and even then I wasn't a very strong runner. I am ready to be in the best shape of my life. Family members keep telling me that when I hit 30 my metabolism will plummet. I need to be proactive so that I don't feel twice as old as I really am.

In other news, I got stopped at the High School this morning by a less than friendly lady who told me that I was in the bus zone. The buses WILL write my plate number down and I WILL get a fine of $250 or more. I have run at this track for years, just never at 8 am. Oops. Lesson learned.

I am also, gulp, trying to cut back on My Beloved. I am limiting myself to 2-12 oz cans a day Monday through Friday and giving myself a little more leeway on the weekend. I know I could just switch to diet, but have you ever drank Diet Cherry Coke. I would rather suck on Sucrets, thank you.


Monday, June 9, 2008


I'm Baaacck!

I know, I know you all really truly missed me. The trip went over surprisingly well, the babies handled the drive to Philadelphia amazingly well (we left at 5 a.m. though). The most we paid for gas was $4.04 a gallon and we got $50 in Exxon gift gas cards from one of the hotels we stayed at. There are a few stories to tell, none all that great but there are also loads and loads of laundry to do so I should probably see to that before I write to indepth a blog.

I will try and post pictures of the twins soon. They had there first pool experience yesterday and that was alot of fun. They both seemed to enjoy the water and it didn't seem so hot in the pool. We also took them on their first hike this past weekend, to the top of Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter. I carried Bailey in a carrier and Ward carried Coop. It took me an hour and 13 minutes to reach the top, not my best time ever but I felt pretty good about it because I had a lot of naysayers saying I wouldn't be able to carry her to the top and I did. We also visited Appomattox, Gettysburg, Independence Hall, The National Achives, the Capital, and tons of monuments and memorials so it was a pretty educational trip all in all.

I had every intention of blogging a few times on our trip but every day was pretty jam packed and I am more tired now than I was before we left on our trip as I figured might happen.

In other news I started running today for the first time. It was very hot and I didn't get very far but beginning is half the battle for me. Thanks for running with me Lucy.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Am Not The Democrat My Dad Wants Me To Be

I am non partisan. I normally vote democrat, but not always.

I rather like Barack Obama. Not because he is a democrat but for other reasons.

I rather dislike Hillary Clinton. Not because she is a democrat but fot lots of reasons.

Recently, I was discussing the Democratic Nomination with my father and he told me that he can't stand it when people say that they are going to vote for McCain or go independent if Clinton gets her parties nomination. Those people are just stupid. The point is to get a democrat in office.

I have determined from our little conversation that I am just stupid and definitely not the democrat my father wants me to be.